A £4m Highland abbatoir has gone into administration before it had even started production.
New owners are being sought for the state-of-the-art Caithness Beef and Lamb abbatoir, which had only ever operated trial production runs.
Administrators RSM Tenon say the company went into administration because of "intense competition and rising costs" in the meat processing industry.
They now hope that the fully-commissioned plant will attract interest from farming and food processing industries across Europe.
Iain Fraser, of RSM Tenon, said: "We are selling a virtually new plant that could be brought into production relatively quickly and easily.
"The plant took three years to design and build, and features some of the best slaughtering and food processing equipment available.
"The administration represents an outstanding opportunity for an existing meat or food processing business to instantly acquire additional capacity.
"Alternatively, the facility could appeal to an entrepreneur that sees an opportunity to launch a new abattoir and branded meat processing business."
Caithness Beef and Lamb had initially aimed at providing an abbatoir service for farmers in the north of Scotland, and later planned to develop a range of Caithness-branded products including prime cuts, sausages and haggis.